Periodically Jess gets bored with food. It's not easy finding new things to eat when you're a vegetarian who can't eat tofu, and doesn't like mushrooms. When that happens, she usually gets out the big three ring binder of recipes. I get overwhelmed trying to plan new meals that she'll like so we've worked out an arrangement where she picks out recipes (with some input from me) and I cook them. The stuff we tend to like is usually pretty labor intensive, requiring at least two hours in the kitchen. But the results are definitely worth it.
The first of our newest culinary adventures was black bean burgers with lime-jalapeno mayo. If you'd told me a few years ago that I'd be willingly cooking with jalapeno, I would have said, "What you talkin' 'bout Willis?" But as long as I ditch the seeds and don't go over board, I find I like the spice.
On the day I planned to make the burgers, I happened to check the Shift list and see that there was a pedal potluck picnic that evening. Always looking for an excuse to drag out the summer, I decided to make the patties and then go mobile with the whole dinner. I loaded Fezzik (yup, I think that's the name I'm sticking with and extra points if you get the reference :) with a camp table, two chairs, two-burner Coleman stove, and a cooler with the bean patties and a Mediterranean carrot salad to share.
We met at the Alberta Coop. Shawn of the Urban Adventure League usually leads the rides, but he was out of town so we had a substitute ride leader. My spider sense started tingling when the first thing she did was ask everyone if they wanted to vote on the destination. Half the fun of the PPP is not knowing where you're headed. But I also didn't want to go too far south if I could help it, so I voted to vote. Her suggestion was to go see the Chapman swifts. I was kind of hoping for that destination so I was happy.
We got a bit of a late start and the leader was from SE and didn't know the area too well so the route choice was a bit lacking. We found ourselves crossing MLK not at a light and when Jess suggested taking the sidewalk to a cross walk, she was shut down. When we got to the school the show was well underway and there was a huge crowd and not many spaces left. Suddenly the ride leader turned to me. "Do you want to pick out a spot for us?"
I was surprised and a little confused. She seemed to be pretty reluctant to make any decisions--despite that being the job of the ride leader. I declined to take over responsibility, but after following her up a steep hill that didn't lead anywhere, I decided to just go around the block to the flat part of the lawn where there was plenty of space. Everyone else followed.
We usually have a good time on the PPP, but this time I found the lack of leadership irritating, and there wasn't the comradery that we've experienced on other rides. It was a pretty small group, but no one really introduced themselves until well into the meal. On the bright side, the food was every bit as good as we've come to expect. Shawn has really done a great job of raising the standards of mobile potluck food. The black bean burgers came out great (even though I was rushing and screwed up some of the directions) and I had fun hauling all the stuff.
We left shortly after the ride leader started talking about how she'd quit running and started smoking. The other woman in our group shared that her dad died of lung cancer, but it hadn't really affected her decision to keep smoking either. You know what they say, 'if you don't have anything nice to say...' so we left, and had a lovely ride home.
After torturing my Flickr buddies with food pics, I promised Monkeykun the recipe, so here you go:
1/2 C mayonnaise of vegannaise
1 1/2 t fresh lime juice
1/8 to 1/4 t minced fresh jalapeno chile
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper
1 15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained
2 green onions (white and green parts), finely chopped
1/3 C finely diced red bell pepper
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 C dried plain bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T mild or medium salsa (I used Trader Joes peach salsa)
1 T fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper
1/4 t ground cumin
1/4 C finely ground cornmeal
2 T vegetable oil (divided)
Toasted whole wheat buns
To make mayonnaise: In a small bowl, combine all mayo ingredients, salt and pepper to taste; mix well. Refrigerate if not serving soon.
To make burgers: Measure 1/2 cup black beans and set aside. Place remaining drained black beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until pureed. Add the green onions, bell pepper, cilantro, bread crumbs, garlic, salsa, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste; process until well-combined. Remove to a medium bowl and stir in the reserved black beans. Taste and adjust seasonings. Form into 4 patties.
In a shallow bowl, mix together the cumin and cornmeal. Dredge the patties in the mixture. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet and saute the burgers, two at a time, until golden and slightly crispy. Repeat with remaining burgers using the last tablespoon oil.
To serve: Spread the lime-jalapeno mayo on toasted buns, add burgers and serve.
Notes: I used half mayo and half sour cream, 'cause Jess hates mayo. Turned out great. I also used orange peppers. Don't skip the mayo, it's delicious!
If you make these, leave a comment and let me know how it went!